N.B. This page was last changed in October 2010. It has now been archived.
The new version is at Introduction to Moritz
Moritz is the framework within which I am developing my work. It has a user interface, designed as a patch
editor, but its main purpose is as a convenient testbed for clarifying and pinning down new ideas.
The (C#/.NET) software libraries it generates are being used in other, interrelated programs as well.
The following programs currently use Moritz’ software libraries (October 2010):
* Currently, the Assistant Performer is started from the Patch Editor, but it uses a standardized patch (see below) and could easily be converted into a stand-alone program.
Moritz was named after Max’s terrible twin (see
Max and Moritz
specializes in controlling information (sounds) at the MIDI event level and below.
Moritz deals with the MIDI event level and above (musical form). MIDI events are
the common interface (at the chord symbol level). Among the very first nodes I wrote
for Moritz were nodes representing MIDI IN and MIDI OUT devices.
In the early 1980s, I made a real conceptual breakthrough, solving many of the Avant
Garde’s problems in music notation, and have been trying very hard to communicate
these ideas ever since.
But this has proved to be a very difficult process. Unfortunately, it is not enough
(even on the web) just to provide good, logical arguments showing that standard
music notation is unnecessarily complicated. I need to show that there are unforseen,
interesting, concrete, commercially relevant consequences.
So one of the main reasons for creating Moritz is to help me develop these ideas
to a point at which they will be more difficult to ignore. With Moritz, I can build
on previous work and create some concrete compositions, delivering some proofs of
along the way. If the proofs
fail to convince, I can push
on further. Moritz is there to put the screws on. Whatever happens, the results
will at least be unique. Maybe I’m just a Romantic Hero after all...
While the sound
of these compositions will of course be related to my taste
and the tradition in which I grew up, I am also hoping that the concepts
will be of more general interest — especially to programmers working in more
commercial environments. Nowadays, software
is the key to developing any
kind of music. For example:
- Defining music symbols purely spatially suggests easier, more powerful ways to write
user interfaces for both pre- and post-production music software, such as sequencers,
Cubase, Protools etc.
- For me, the simple idea of developing an assistant performer (see below) was closely
related to the insight that music notation is intrinsically timeless. Time is something
in a performer’s brain, something he/she does in the context of an acquired
tradition of performance practice. It is not something absolute, related directly
to the symbols on paper, screen or hard disk.
Avant-Garde composers were unable to solve this (both sociological and technical)
problem in the 1950s and 60s, and this failure led to the collapse of written music
An assistant performer is something I need as a composer of written new music
trying to re-enable the development
of specialized performance practices and to wake written music out of its 40-year-old coma.
Here is the standardized patch for Moritz’ Assistant Performer. This allows a single player to
perform a score of L'après midi d'un faune
in real time. The human performer reads a
printed score or plays from memory, the assistant (Moritz) reads and follows the equivalent computer
file (L'ApresMidi.capx). This patch is explained in more detail in
Mortiz’s Assistant Performer
Moritz’s future is very open. I'd very much like to:
- Turn Moritz and the other programs described on this web site into open source, team projects.
- Create scores which can be played in real time in browsers. (I am currently working on the export of scores in SVG format.)